Parents will often make huge sacrifices to enable their children to gain the unique opportunities offered by a traditional British boarding school education. What they don't always realise is that this opportunity can be gained at a third of the cost at one of the UK's state boarding schools.
The standard of education offered at state boarding schools is very high and the boarding provision matches that of the independent sector. Add to this the myriad extra-curricular activities and the chance to make friends from all over the world and the state boarding option starts to look very attractive. Just as in independent schools, children in state boarding schools make deep friendships which last for their life-time, and the opportunity for building character, independence and resilience is invaluable. The opportunity to board can also benefit families where parents work long hours or have to travel overseas for work reasons.
State boarding schools are very varied in style and character and are situated all over the country. There are selective schools and comprehensive schools; co-ed and single-sex schools; primary schools, secondary schools and sixth form colleges; specialists in many different subjects; all-boarding or minority boarding. The best way to find out which school would suit your child best is to start with the website and then arrange a visit.
Pupils joining state boarding schools need to be UK or EU passport holders, but this includes a surprising number of nationalities from across the world. In order to apply parents will need to look at the individual school websites. Many state boarding schools are academies and you can therefore apply direct, but for Year 7 pupils, you may find you need to approach the relevant local authority.
For more information take a look at the State Boarding Schools Association website on www.sbsa.org.uk
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